Friday, May 23, 2014

MIT shows a new promising way to make sheets of graphene on wafers by CVD

MIT News reports - Now researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan have come up with a way of producing graphene, in a process that lends itself to scaling up, by making graphene directly on materials such as large sheets of glass. The process is described, in a paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, by a team of nine researchers led by A. John Hart of MIT. Lead authors of the paper are Dan McNerny, a former Michigan postdoc, and Viswanath Balakrishnan, a former MIT postdoc who is now at the Indian Institute of Technology.

The new work, Hart says, still uses a metal film as the template — but instead of making graphene only on top of the metal film, it makes graphene on both the film’s top and bottom. The substrate in this case is silicon dioxide, a form of glass, with a film of nickel on top of it.
Using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to deposit a graphene layer on top of the nickel film, Hart says, yields “not only graphene on top [of the nickel layer], but also on the bottom.” The nickel film can then be peeled away, leaving just the graphene on top of the nonmetallic substrate.
This way, there’s no need for a separate process to attach the graphene to the intended substrate — whether it’s a large plate of glass for a display screen, or a thin, flexible material that could be used as the basis for a lightweight, portable solar cell, for example. “You do the CVD on the substrate, and, using our method, the graphene stays behind on the substrate,” Hart says.
Read all details about this new approach to manufacture sheets of graphene in the open access Scientific Reports article below.
a) Process schematic, indicating Ni grain growth during annealing in He, followed by graphene growth under CVD conditions, and then removal of Ni using adhesive tape. Photos of substrates (~1 × 1 cm) and delaminated Ni films in case of b) ex situ tape delamination after graphene growth and c) in situ delamination during the graphene growth step. In the latter case the Ni film retains its integrity upon delamination and is moved to the side using tweezers after the sample is taken from the CVD system. (picture and caption from article below) 
Directfabrication of graphene on SiO2 enabled by thin film stress engineering
Daniel Q. McNerny, B. Viswanath, Davor Copic, Fabrice R. Laye, Christophor Prohoda, Anna C. Brieland-Shoultz, Erik S. Polsen, Nicholas T. Dee, Vijayen S. Veerasamy, A. John Hart   
Scientific Reports, Volume: 4, Article number: 5049, DOI:doi:10.1038/srep05049, Published

Abstract: We demonstrate direct production of graphene on SiO2 by CVD growth of graphene at the interface between a Ni film and the SiO2 substrate, followed by dry mechanical delamination of the Ni using adhesive tape. This result is enabled by understanding of the competition between stress evolution and microstructure development upon annealing of the Ni prior to the graphene growth step. When the Ni film remains adherent after graphene growth, the balance between residual stress and adhesion governs the ability to mechanically remove the Ni after the CVD process. In this study the graphene on SiO2 comprises micron-scale domains, ranging from monolayer to multilayer. The graphene has >90% coverage across centimeter-scale dimensions, limited by the size of our CVD chamber. Further engineering of the Ni film microstructure and stress state could enable manufacturing of highly uniform interfacial graphene followed by clean mechanical delamination over practically indefinite dimensions. Moreover, our findings suggest that preferential adhesion can enable production of 2-D materials directly on application-relevant substrates. This is attractive compared to transfer methods, which can cause mechanical damage and leave residues behind.      

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